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Did you know that camels used to live in the Arctic tundra?
Yes, camels! Walking around on ice and snow.
It's true. In 2013, scientists announced
they'd discovered mummified leg bones on Ellesmere Island,
which belonged to the ancestors of modern-day
one- and two-humped camels.
In fact, enduring the frigid tundra
is how scientists think camels
got their iconic hump in the first place,
because what's inside helped them survive
in an age when many other animals were wiped out.
John Hare: What's inside a camel's hump is fat,
and a lot of people think it's water.
But it's certainly not; it's fat,
and it nourishes them when they're on long journeys.
Narrator: That's right, fat.
Each hump can store up to 36 kilograms of it,
which can sustain the camel for weeks
or even months without food.
And that sort of adaptation was especially important
3.5 million years ago, during the middle of an ice age,
when the ancestors to modern camels
were hanging out in the Arctic tundra.
Hare: Talking about the Ice Age, when
a lot of mammals were killed during that time,
and yet the camel managed to survive
by developing this emergency food system, if you like:
the hump.
Narrator: Eventually, camels migrated across
the Bering Strait into regions of Asia and Africa,
where the fat inside their humps
helped them adapt yet again.
This time, to the blistering-hot temperatures
of deserts like the Gobi and Sahara.
You see, camels are one of the only animals
in the world that store all their fat in one spot.
And that's useful for keeping cool in a hot climate
because heat can escape faster from the rest of their body,
which helps them maintain a lower body temperature.
Compare that to other mammals, like humans,
who store fat all over,
making it a lot harder to stay cool.
Today, camels still use the fat in their humps
as a food reserve, but they're not the only ones.
In extreme circumstances, the Turkana tribe in Kenya,
for example, will eat camel fat to survive.
Hare: They suffer a lot from periods
of extreme drought, and I have seen these people,
they've been very, very short on food,
and this is difficult to believe, but it's true,
slit open the top of a camel's hump,
take out the fat for their own consumption,
and then put the top of the hump back on again.
Narrator: But don't worry, the camel makes
a full recovery, and instances are rare.
But this practice has started to generate some buzz
around camel fat as a new superfood.
Turns out, camel fat is loaded with fatty acids,
vitamins, and minerals.
Desert Farms, a company that sells camel fat,
says that just 1 tablespoon contains
40% of your daily vitamin B12 needs
and three times the amount of oleic acid
than coconut oil, a superfood staple.
And since all that nutritious fat
is what fills the hump out,
when a camel fasts for long periods,
its hump can actually go limp.
Hare: The humps gradually diminish in size.
If it's been in a very harsh environment,
they go completely limp and flop over the side
of the camel's backbone.
Narrator: Now, since we know that fat
is what makes up the hump instead of water,
that got us wondering:
How do camels stay hydrated in such dry climates?
Well, they have unique blood cells
that run throughout their entire body,
including a few in the hump itself.
These blood cells are extremely elastic,
perfect for holding a lot of water.
Camels can drink up to 115 liters in about 10 minutes,
expanding the cells up to 240% in the process.
Hare: There are capillaries throughout its body,
and when it has a drink, it drinks and drinks and drinks,
and it swells up, and it looks as though it's pregnant.
Narrator: If that's not impressive enough,
the wild camel of China has even been known
to survive on salt water.
So, whether it's surviving the harsh desert heat,
weeks without food and water,
or even the Canadian Arctic,
the camel is one of the best adapters
in the animal kingdom, and that's in large part
thanks to its iconic hump.
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読み込み中…

What's Inside A Camel Hump?

313 タグ追加 保存
Nina 2019 年 10 月 17 日 に公開
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